After the South Similkameen Health Centre cut down its lab hours to every other Wednesday, another reduction of service has hit the Interior Health facility.
In an update to media distributed on Feb. 3, Joanne Isber, the corporate program director for IH’s Pathology and Laboratory Medicine stated that all lab appointment bookings except those issued by physicians were being paused due to continued staffing shortages.
Patients who are taking an INR test, which tests how long it takes for someone’s blood to clot, are also among the limited allowances for appointments.
Limited blood collection at the South Similkameen Health Centre will still be running for these patients on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m.
As with the previous reduction of hours in December, IH has pointed patients to instead book appointments for lab work either at the Penticton Regional Hospital or the South Okanagan General Hospital in Oliver.
People can book an appointment online at labonlinebooking.ca or by calling 1 877-870-4756. The call centre is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the weekends, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on stat holidays.
Alternatively, further lab collection options are available through Valley Medical Laboratory with two locations in Penticton and one in Osoyoos.
“Interior Health recognizes the disruption this limited service has for Keremeos residents who have to travel for lab service,” said Isber. “There is a shortage of lab professionals in the South Okanagan and throughout the province. Interior Health continues to actively recruit lab professionals to stabilize services throughout the South Okanagan and across Interior Health.”
In December, the plan had been to hire enough staff to make the lab fully available every Wednesday by the end of February.
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